News-watch

News-watch

Background

News-watch is a media monitoring group whose reports on alleged bias at the BBC have been covered by major newspapers such as The Telegraph and published by thinktanks including Civitas. [1], [2]

The News-watch website also regularly publishes articles rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change and criticising the BBC’s reporting of the issue. [3]

News-watch has ties to various right-wing, pro-Brexit organisations, including Leave.EU — led by Arron Banks and Nigel Farage — which solicits donations for News-watch on its website. [4]

A report published by News-watch in 2017, which claimed that BBC correspondents “one-sidedly emphasised the difficulties of Brexit,” was commissioned by a group of Leave-supporting MPs, including Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, and Ian Paisley. [1]

News-Watch also runs the website “BBC Complaints” that aims to “stop BBC bias against Brexit.” The site offers a complaint submission form, and features selected complaints on the site. [5]

News-watch’s senior researcher is Andrew Jubb, who has worked for NewsWatch since its inception in 1999 and claims to have overseen more than six thousand hours of broadcast monitoring. Jubb has provided “statistical evidence” for papers published by the Centre for Policy Studies and MigrationWatch. Jubb is also a psychotherapist. [6], [2], [7]

News-watch should not be confused with NewsWatch, the BBC’s own monitoring service which examines and responds to complaints from viewers. [8]

David Keighley & Ties to The Conservative Woman

News-watch's managing director is David Keighley, a media consultant and former BBC news producer who also runs a property management firm and “human health” consultancy. [6], [9], [10]

Keighley is a contributor to Brexit Central, whose editor-at-large is Matthew Elliott, former CEO of the anti-tax campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance, as well as the official campaign to leave the EU, Vote Leave. The news site has been accused by whistleblower Shahmir Sanni of holding regular meetings with other right-wing thinktanks and lobby groups based on Tufton Street in order to coordinate campaigning efforts for a “hard” Brexit. [11], [12]

Keighley has published over 200 articles in The Conservative Woman, including a regular “BBC Watch” column. As well as rejecting mainstream climate science, Keighley has written articles opposing the development of wind energy in the UK, praising the work of Matt Ridley, an advisor at the Global Warming Policy FoundationJohn Constable, Energy Editor at the GWPF wrote an article about the same subject – Rampion wind farm – the year before in CapX, a pro-free market news site launched by the centre-right thinktank, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). CPS and News-watch have received funding from the Institute for Public Policy, a charity that supports many right-leaning and pro-Brexit organisations. [13], [14], [15], [16]

In 1999, together with Keighley, The Conservative Woman’s editor Kathy Gyngell co-founded Minotaur Media Monitoring, a research group from which News-watch was created in 2007. Gyngell is the widow of Bruce Gyngell, described as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite broadcaster, who led TV-am, the company that broadcast ITV’s breakfast programme in the 1980s/90s, before being replaced by GMTV. Keighley was director of public affairs at TV-am during this time. [17], [18], [19], [20], [6]

The Conservative Woman regularly publishes articles denying climate science, including by Harry Wilkinson from the Global Warming Policy Foundation. [21]

Keighley spoke at an event in 2017 organised by the Traditional Britain Group, a far-right thinktank which previously called for the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence and “millions of others” to be “requested to return to their natural homelands,” and has hosted figures such as Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, white nationalist Richard Spencer, former UKIP candidate Anne Marie Waters and former BNP activist Mark Collett. [22], [23], [24], [25]

Keighley has also trained as a psychotherapist and is managing director of the Mindful Policy Group, a group which advocates “attachment theory” and is chaired by Eurosceptic Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who also chaired Andrea Leadsom’s Conservative party leadership campaign. [26]

Stance on Climate Change

October 16, 2018

Referring to Australian climate sceptic Joanne Nova in an article for The Conservative Woman, Keighley wrote: [14]

…despite all the IPCC’s posturing, politicking and blustering – the study of the workings of the globe’s climate is in its infancy, not least because measurement of variables is so unreliable and incomplete.” [14]

Those who question alarmism are not ‘deniers’, as the BBC so insultingly calls them. Rather, it is they, the ‘deniers’, the anti-alarmists, who are heroes and heroines fighting to smash the deeply corrupt alarmist scam, which, on some estimates, is costing taxpayers trillions of dollars a year.” [14]

Funding

News-watch received £210,000 in grants from the Institute for Policy Research between 2013 and 2018, according to Charity Commission documents. [27]

The Institute for Policy Research (IPR), an opaque charity with no apparent website, funds numerous pro-Brexit, right-wing organisations, including: [27]

The IPR’s trustees include Simon Webley, Nicholas Finney OBE and Eric Koops. Nicholas Finney was the conservative political commentator Iain Dale’s boss at the British Ports Federation in the 80s when they persuaded Margaret Thatcher to scrap a key piece of employment legislation. Finney describes himself as “proud to be CO2 denier” on his Twitter profile. Eric Koops stood unsuccessfully as the Conservative Party candidate for Wakefield in 1974. [27], [28], [29], [30]

The IPR is based in the same Westminster office, 24 Greencoat Place, as the Institute for Business Ethics, a charity set up by a group of business people concerned about the “Big Bang” financial deregulation initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, according to its website. [31], [32]

The Institute for Business Ethics’ president is Sir Tim Melville-Ross, who began his career at BP and is now chairman of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Simon Webley, one of the Institute for Policy Research's trustees, is the IBE's Research Director, as of 1998. The IBE's advisory council includes: [33], [43]

  • Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a director of Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Saudi Aramco
  • Simon Thompson, chairman of the Africa-focused oil and gas company, Tullow Oil
  • Richard Wiseman, a Shell lawyer
  • Rachel Lomax, a non-executive director at Heathrow Airport
  • Sir Richard Olver, formerly deputy group chief executive at BP
  • Sir Douglas Flint, previously a non-executive director at BP
  • Lord Green, CEO of HSBC while the bank was being used for money-laundering. [34]

The IPR in turn receives funding from the Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust (NVCT), set up by the Conservative peer Lord Vinson. The NVCT directly funds numerous free-market thinktanks and lobby groups, many of which are based at the same offices on Tufton Street and have played leading roles in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. Organisations funded include: [35]

The NVCT also funds the UK’s premier climate science denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and the anti-wind power campaign group the Renewable Energy Foundation, whose research output was previously directed by the GWPF’s Energy Editor John Constable. [35]

The Trust has also donated to the UK's only private university, the University of Buckingham; Frank Furedi, a key figure at the climate science denying, Koch-funded Spiked magazine; and the Hampden Trust, part of the libertarian Freedom Association pressure group. The Freedom Association organised a “Climate Week” at the University of York in 2009 promoting climate science denial, with speakers including Nils-Axel Mörner and David Holland, who took the University of East Anglia to an information tribunal over the “Climategate” controversy. The pressure group also ran the “Better Off Out” campaign during the EU referendum and currently runs an anti-BBC campaign called “Axe The TV Tax,” calling for the licence fee to be abolished. Ruth Lea, a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, spoke at a fringe event chaired by UKIP politician Roger Helmer and organised by the Freedom Association at the 2008 Conservative Party Conference. [36], [37], [38], [39], [40]

Key People

Actions

July 7, 2019

The Daily Express reported that News-watch managing director David Keighley had launched a £30,000 crowdfunding campaign called “Stop BBC Bias” to support a legal challenge over the way the BBC measures impartiality. Keighley says that the two national viewer surveys currently used are inadequate and is calling for a new independent body to monitor the BBC. McCarthy Denning, a specialist law firm, has been instructed to fight the case. The Global Warming Policy Forum republished the Daily Express article, adding in images criticising the BBC for reporting climate science. [44], [45]

The Tufton Street-based organisation, Civitas, which published a News-watch report on alleged BBC bias in 2014, promoted the crowdfunder on its website the day after it was launched. [46]

October 15–16, 2018

News-watch published an article by Keighley accusing the BBC of “climate alarmism” and calling climate science deniers “heroes and heroines fighting to smash the deeply corrupt alarmist scam.” The article was republished on The Conservative Woman the following day. [41], [14]

November 27, 2017

Keighley spoke at an event organised by the Traditional Britain Group, a far-right thinktank. [22]

April 2014

News-watch published a report with Civitas, a right-wing thinktank based on Tufton Street, entitled “Impartiality at the BBC?[2]

Related Organizations

Contact & Address

News-watch does not list an address on its website. [42]

Social Media

News-watch does not seem to be active on social media.

Resources

  1. Olivia Rudgard. “BBC invited a third more pro-EU than Eurosceptic speakers to appear during election campaign, report claims,” The Telegraph, October 22, 2017. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/zvHUw

  2. Impartiality at the BBC?Civitas, News-watch, April 2014. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/fKj5G

  3. Climate,” News-watch. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/TGbAo

  4. News-watch fundraiser,” Leave.EU. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/od5YR

  5. Homepage,” BBC Complaints. Archived April 15, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/0j5CB

  6. About News-watch,” News-watch. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/q3lWA

  7. Homepage,” Andrew Jubb website. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/XgrRQ

  8. Matt Holder. “Welcome to News-watch,” BBC News, November 4, 2004. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Y22OS

  9. 21 PALMEIRA SQUARE MANAGEMENT LIMITED,” Companies House. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/31vh2

  10. KEIGHLEY GILL CONSULTING LIMITED,” Companies House. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/C2MND

  11. David Keighley,” Brexit Central. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/UyBkm

  12. Chloe Farand. “Mapped: Whistleblower Accuses Nine Organisations of Colluding over Hard Brexit,” DeSmog, July 23, 2018.

  13. David Keighley,” The Conservative Woman. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/R0iXT

  14. David Keighley. “We’re right about climate change, say the BBC – and let the facts go hang,” The Conservative Woman, October 16, 2018. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Qq8FV

  15. David Keighley. “A coastline destroyed by the wind farm invasion,” The Conservative Woman, January 1, 2019. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/1GDAD

  16. John Constable. “Rampion wind farm is a black hole for taxpayers’ money,” CapX, June 6, 2018. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/BhBLQ

  17. The Editors,” The Conservative Woman. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/F33vb

  18. Monitoring Projects and Reports,” News-watch. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/HxVnR

  19. Roy Greenslade. “Media bias is in the eye of the beholder,” The Guardian, October 10, 2007. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/zMjXV

  20. Maggie Brown. “Bruce Gyngell,” The Guardian, September 9, 2000. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/W1Bhx

  21. Harry Wilkinson. “The Climate Change Act: Ten years of punishing the poor,” The Conservative Woman, November 30, 2018. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/TKMTY

  22. David Keighley - BBC Bias and Trying To Make The Corporation More Accountable,” Youtube video uploaded by user Traditional Britain Group on November 22, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  23. MP Jacob Rees-Mogg: Dinner speech 'a mistake',” BBC News, August 9, 2013. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/AvUmp

  24. Tom Porter. “Tory think-tank invites anti-black Traditional Britain Group to anniversary dinner,” International Business Times, March 9, 2017. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/cNEHI

  25. Joe Mulhall. “Waters and Sellner speak at Traditional Britain Group conference,” Hope not Hate, October 22, 2017. Archived April 10, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  26. Who We Are,” Mindful Policy Group. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/l1mxe], [“THE MINDFUL POLICY EXPERTS GROUP LIMITED,” Companies House. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/UJUYt

  27. The Institute For Policy Research,” Charity Commission. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/IV9jo

  28. Iain Dale. “27 Years Ago Today the Dock Labour Scheme Was Abolished - And Here's How I Helped It Happen,” Iain Dale website, April 6, 2016. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/K9W8p

  29. Dame Mary Claire Hogg,” Divorce and the City. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/meNci

  30. Nicholas Finney OBE (@nhfinney) on Twitter. Accessed April 10, 2019. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

  31. Report of the Trustees and Financial Statements for the Year Ended 30 September 2018,” Institute for Policy Research. Archived April 10, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  32. A Brief History,” Institute for Business Ethics. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/tna0q

  33. Advisory Council,” Institute for Business Ethics. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/r1MVn

  34. Nikhil Kumar, Jamie Dunkley. “HSBC: The drug world's local bank,” The Independent, December 12, 2012. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/rRxEE

  35. Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust,” Charity Commission. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/jEJmJ

  36. Mike Small. “Revealed: US Oil Billionaire Charles Koch Funds UK Anti-Environment Spiked Network,” DeSmog, December 6, 2018.

  37. Hampden Trust supports climate debate at University of York,” The Freedom Association, July 27, 2009. Archived August 9, 2011. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/xWIJt

  38. Robert Mendick. “Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row,” The Telegraph, November 28, 2009. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/PGvDS

  39. Homepage,” Axe The TV Tax. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/VDKDG

  40. Ruth Lea on climate change - part 1,” Youtube video uploaded by user Simon Richards on October 6, 2008. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  41. David Keighley. “BBC climate alarmism: ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good scare story’,” News-watch, October 15, 2018. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Il65V

  42. Contact us,” News-watch. Archived April 10, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/SVc0u

  43. Our team,” Institute for Business Ethics. Archived June 12, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/vS7lC

  44. David Williamson. “BBC backlash: Beeb facing legal challenge as viewers raise thousands to tackle ‘bias',” Daily Express, July 7, 2019. Archived July 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/MXZZM

  45. BBC Faces Legal Challenge As Viewers Raise Thousands To Tackle ‘Bias’,” Global Warming Policy Forum, July 8, 2019. Archived July 8, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/ewo9N

  46. Crowdfunding to challenge BBC bias,” Civitas, July 5, 2019. Archived July 8, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/NpcRL

  47. Philip Booth. “In Focus: The Case for Privatising the BBC,” IEA, April 28, 2016. Archived July 18, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/qQSmD

Other Resources

Photo credit: News-watch.